Originally written October 23, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The spotlight is going to be on the Detroit Lions special teams for the near future. Every mistake will be magnified because of the two punt returns and two kick returns allowed for touchdowns in a recent two-game stretch. This weeks goat is return specialist Stefan Logan, who muffed a punt on a fair catch at the Detroit 27-yard line early in the second half of Mondays 13-7 loss at Chicago. Logan also muffed another punt earlier in the game, but he was fortunate that time that the ball bounced off his foot and went out of bounds. The Lions drafted two other return specialists over the last couple years -- receivers Titus Young and Ryan Broyles -- but coach Jim Schwartz indicated during his Tuesday news conference that there are no plans to make a change right now. Were still confident in Stefan, Schwartz said. Hes also made a lot of plays for us. Just last week, he sparked us with a big return (48-yard punt return at Philadelphia). Those guys (Young and Broyles) are certainly capable, but we havent lost any faith in Stefan Logan. Logan ranks 11th in the NFL with a 9.3-yard average on punt returns. His 21.6-yard average on kick returns does not rank him in the top-25. Schwartz said that Logan needs to make better decisions at times. I think thats a big thing with Stefan, Schwartz said Logan can make plays for us. Hes a very good returner. But theres also a fine line there between being overaggressive and trying to make something out of a situation that might be better off with a fair catch or better off with a touchback. I think thats just as important as ball-security with him. BURLESON INJURY The Lions not only lost their top slot receiver, they lost one of their best leaders when 10-year NFL veteran Nate Burleson suffered a season-ending broken leg. Well be able to replace Nate as a player, Schwartz said. But Nate brings more than just his physical abilities to the field. Nates a very good leader, a very good guy in the locker room. Hell still be around, but we need to also pick that up on the practice field and in the locker room. Broyles, a second-round draft pick last April, could benefit the most from Burlesons absence. He made the first three catches of his NFL career, including a last-minute touchdown, after Burleson went down in Mondays game. Broyles underwent major knee surgery last November, but he appears ready to take on the increased workload. I think after the bye week (two weeks ago), we never even considered him an injured guy anymore, Schwartz said. We havent limited his practice time. He very rarely even wears a sleeve out on his knee to practice. We just view him as one of the other guys. QUOTING SCHWARTZ On costly fumbles by running backs Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell: You never want to tell a guy, Dont fight for yardage, but you have to be ball-secure. There is a fine line there. You certainly dont want to slow guys down from being aggressive. But particularly in the red zone, ball security is more important than that extra half yard. On whether quarterback Matthew Stafford has regressed this year: I wouldnt say hes regressed. I think that as an offense, were working through some things right now. Were not clicking on all cylinders, but we can. We have the firepower to do it. Matts certainly capable. EXTRA POINT Safety Amari Spievey is out indefinitely following another concussion. It is reportedly the fourth of his career. He also suffered one in the playoff game last January, which led to ongoing concussion symptoms throughout the off-season.
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